Whiplash has garnered critical acclaim recently, and is even considered one of the underdogs this award season. And it was well-deserved. It was a tightly-scripted, cleverly-directed film with standout performances from Mile Teller and JK Simmons (who won an Academy Award for his role as the drum teacher from hell, Dr. Fletcher). However, unbeknownst to some, the film actually started out as a short film in order to get funding for director Damien Chazale’s final version that was seen in theaters. It was because of this short that the Academy Awards nominated Whiplash for Best Adapated Screenplay rather than Best Original Screenplay.
While some may dispute the fact, saying, “How could it be adapted when it was the same screenplay used for the full length?” it’s a thing of the past now. What’s done is done. It doesn’t change the fact that Whiplash is one of the best films of 2014.
— Sony Pictures UK (@SonyPicturesUK) February 21, 2015
In his review for the Whiplash Blu-ray release, Matthew Jacobson of The Spectrum wrote, “Forgive the hyperbole, but it was probably the most stressful hour and change I’ve ever experienced where nothing was actually happening to me.”
The Whiplash short film is essentially a recreation of one sequence in the full length. It was here that JK Simmons showed the brilliance that would eventually lead to an Oscar. However, the role of the young drummer that would eventually go to Miles Teller, was played by Johnny Simmons in the short film. The Whiplash short film garnered rave reviews, and due to the short’s reception, Chazale was able to get funding for his debut full length version of Whiplash.
Now, with the Blu-ray of Whiplash being released last week, you can now watch the short film that started it all. A user uploaded the entire short film on YouTube, and it’s nice to see how everything would have played out in an alternate universe where Miles Teller didn’t get the lead role.